The Global Wind Energy Council’s (GWEC) recently released Global Wind Report 2022 confirms that the record years for several regions and offshore wind installations reflect strong market growth, but must still quadruple by the end of the decade to meet a net-zero pathway.
“The wind industry continues to step up and deliver, but scaling up growth to the level required to reach net-zero and achieve energy security will require a new, more proactive approach to policymaking around the world… The last 12 months should serve as a huge wake-up call that we need to move decisively forward and switch to 21st-century energy systems based on renewables,” said Ben Backwell, GWEC CEO.
The wind industry enjoyed its second-best year ever in 2021, with almost 94GW of capacity added globally despite a second year of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is just 1.8% less than the year-over-year wind energy growth rate in 2020 and is a clear sign of the incredible resilience and upward trajectory of the global wind industry.
However, as the Global Wind Report 2022 from the Global Wind Energy Council makes clear, this growth needs to quadruple by the end of the decade if the world is to stay on course for a 1.5oC pathway and net-zero by 2050.
Global capacity increased by 93.6GW to bring total cumulative wind power capacity to 837GW, which is year-over-year growth of 12%. While the world’s two biggest markets, China and the US, installed less new onshore wind capacity last year – 30.7GW and 12.7GW respectively – other regions enjoyed record years. Europe, Latin America and Africa & the Middle East, increased new onshore installations by 19%, 27% and 120%, respectively.
The offshore wind market enjoyed its best-ever year in 2021, with 21.1GW commissioned. That represents three times more than the previous year. China’s mammoth year of offshore installations accounted for 80% of that growth, helping it pass the UK as the world’s largest offshore wind market in cumulative installations.
Key findings from Global Wind Report
• Nearly 94GW of new capacity is the second-best year ever for the wind industry
• Europe, Latin America, and Africa & the Middle East had record years for new installations
• The best year ever for offshore wind, with huge numbers in China and growing floating offshore deployment in the UK
• Auctioned capacity was up 153% with 88GW awarded globally
• CAGR for wind installations for the next five years is 6.6%, which equates to 557GW forecast installations from 2022 to 2026
• Despite two years of record numbers, this simply isn’t enough to stay on course for 1.5oC and net-zero by 2050.
• The current global situation means energy policy is in flux, but new policy initiatives must rapidly increase the trajectory for wind installations for both net-zero aims and energy security.
“Decisively addressing issues such as permitting and planning will unlock economic growth and create millions of jobs by letting investment flow, while allowing rapid progress on our climate goals. If we carry on with “business as usual”, however, we will miss this unique window of opportunity,“ added Blackwell.
“The events of the last year, which has seen economies and consumers exposed to extreme fossil fuel volatility and high prices around the world, are a symptom of a hesitant and disorderly energy transition, while Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has exposed the implications of dependency on fossil fuel imports for energy security.
“The last 12 months should serve as a huge wake-up call that we need to move decisively forward and switch to 21st-century energy systems based on renewables.”
“The message is clear: the wind industry must grow very fast this decade to comply with the decarbonisation targets around the world. To do that, policymakers must guarantee regulatory stability as well as overcome permitting bottlenecks and further develop grids. The wind industry stands ready for a massive deployment of renewable capacity; national and regional policy must clear the path for this,” said Xabier Viteri Solaun, Managing Director of Iberdrola Renewables.
Find out more about GWEC’s Global Wind Report 2022.